The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking on Wednesday in hopes of finalizing the agency’s transportation electrification rule by the end of the year.
This rule is intended to work hand in hand with the investor-owned utilities’ transportation electrification plans that the state regulators have already approved.
It comes following lengthy pre-rulemaking stakeholder engagement, an effort that was spearheaded by Commissioner Joseph Maestas. That engagement included a statewide summit earlier this year, hosted by the consulting and engineering firm Gridworks.
“This is a really important step for the entire state as transportation is the number two source of carbon emissions and state agencies and private entities are going to have to work hand and hand to transition New Mexico and its infrastructure toward a cleaner running, more sustainable future,” Maestas said.
Rulemaking processes can be lengthy, but PRC General Counsel Russel Fisk said that the transportation electrification rule is not as complicated as some other rules the PRC has recently finalized, such as the community solar rules. He said he does not expect lots of controversy surrounding the transportation electrification rule.
The goal is to work with other state agencies and utilities to help build out electric vehicle support infrastructure such as charging stations.
Mary Jane Parks, a solar innovator with the U.S. Department of Energy who is assisting the PRC with grid modernization, said transitioning the transportation sector from oil to electric is more complicated than just replacing internal combustion engines with electric vehicles. She said some of the considerations should include equitable availability and reliability.
This rulemaking process is important as state agencies like the New Mexico Department of Transportation have announced grants and programs to increase charging stations.
Additionally, the state is receiving $38 million over the next five years from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for electric vehicle infrastructure and has $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act that the state has allocated for charging stations, Maestas highlighted.
Wednesday’s action sets in motion a series of deadines, which includes a public hearing in November.
The transportation electrification rule could be the last rule the elected PRC body finalizes as the state regulatory body will switch to being an appointed commission in 2023.